In today’s edition of Squirrel News, we look at simple changes in neighbourhoods that help prevent crime, an unlikely initiative that gave new opportunities to French kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, and the urban businesses that use old trees to make new furniture – and plant more trees.
How better street design can fight gun violence
After a rise in violent crime, a neighborhood in Portland reduced gun violence by more than 50% with small changes in the community. Adjusting traffic patterns, giving new life to a park and cleaning up the streets made the difference.
The Philadelphia Citizen
French initiative sent low-income children to wealthy schools and changed their lives
Due to low success levels schools in poor neighourhoods around Toulouse were closed, and students were bussed to public schools in the city center. Despite parents’ worries, the kids integrated well, fewer dropped out of school and grades improved.
Reasons To Be Cheerful
Dead trees in US cities given new life and purpose in circular economy
About 36 million trees are cut down every year in cities across the US and the majority ends up in landfills. New urban lumber businesses use the wood to make a profit and work with local associations and authorities to plant more trees.
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Urban forests create birdlife boom in New Zealand’s cities
Wellington’s huge eco-sanctuary is credited with boosting bird populations across the city and fostering a sense of pride in conservation in the locals.
Ecuadorian youth fight to protect the Amazon from oil interests
Communities in Ecuador have worried that gas flares from nearby oil wells could pose health risks for residents and the environment. Now young activists won a lawsuit against the government, which apologised and ordered that flares near cities be eliminated.
Thomson Reuters Foundation
Seed banks protect Brazilian food diversity
In collaboration with indigenous people, the Brazilian agricultural research agency has worked to safeguard the country’s rich food diversity. The initiative has collected seeds from 700 crop species and fosters exchanges of knowledge across the country.
Making ‘clean’ concrete from mud
A young scientist in Togo has caught the eye of European building companies after developing a powder that when mixed with waste soil produces a concrete-like material.
‘She represents me’: the black woman making political history in Colombia
An activist since she was a teenager, Francia Márquez is on course to become the first Afro-Colombian female vice-president of the deeply unequal country.
Tribal pharmacy supports Native Americans with free medications
The pharmacy is fully funded by two local tribal communities and serves Native American citizens no matter their socioeconomic situation. Pharmacists provide culturally-conscious care and for people who don’t have health insurance medications are covered.
Kaiser Health News
Ukrainian school gives hope to the most traumatised young refugees in Poland
A group of Ukrainian teachers opened the new school in just 24 days after the conflict started. Housed in an unused college building in Warsaw and funded with money from nonprofit organizations, the school gives a welcome sense of normalcy to the children.